Mauritania's incumbent president, Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, speaks to journalists after casting his ballot at a polling station in Nouakchott during the presidential elections. Picture: Seyllou

Nouakchott -

Mauritania's highest court on Sunday confirmed the victory of incumbent leader Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz in presidential polls, and rejected an appeal calling for the results to be annulled.

“The candidate Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz was elected President of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania in the first round of the presidential election,” the chairman of the constitutional council, Sgheyir Ould M'barek, said during an official ceremony.

The chairman added that 57-year-old Abdel Aziz had won “an absolute majority of votes cast” in the June 21 election.

Final results released by the council gave Abdel Aziz 81.94 percent of the vote, slightly higher than the provisional figure of 81.89 percent given by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) a week ago.

Abdel Aziz triumphed over anti-slavery candidate Biram Ould Dah Ould Abeid, who received 8.72 percent of the vote.

Ould Abeid challenged the result, but his request was dismissed by the council.

None of the other three candidates in the race polled above five percent.

Boidiel Ould Houmeid, the head of the moderate El-Wiam party, received 4.41 percent of the vote, while Ibrahima Moctar Sarr, the only candidate from the black African south, received 4.43 percent.

The only female candidate in the race, Lalla Mariem Mint Moulaye Idriss, received 0.48 percent.

Calls from opposition groups for a boycott of the election appeared to have little effect, with the council putting turnout at 56.55 percent, compared to 64 percent in 2009.

The National Forum for Democracy and Unity - an opposition coalition of 11 parties including a moderate Islamist movement - rallied to denounce Abdel Aziz's “dictatorial power” and were counting on a high abstention rate.

Abdel Aziz, a former general, seized power in the north-west African nation in an August 2008 coup and won disputed elections the following year. He campaigned strongly on his success in fighting armed groups linked to al-Qaeda at home and in neighbouring Sahel nations.

Following his victory, Abdel Aziz pledged “to be the president of all Mauritanians and to guarantee the rights of all citizens”, according to a text read out by his campaign director Sidi Ould Salem on Monday. - Sapa-AFP